Burglar grappled with South Tyneside homeowner who managed to detain him until police arrived
Kristopher Elsey and an unknown accomplice broke into a garage and stole a roadbike and tools, worth £2,000, before they disturbed the family inside the house at Otterburn Gardens, South Shields.
Newcastle Crown Court heard when the owner, who had been sleeping inside the property with his wife and young child, realised their home had been raided, he detained the 32-year-old burglar until the police got there.
Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court the break-in happened at around 3.45am on May 12.
Mr Bunch told the court: "The defendant tried to pass the householder but the householder took hold of him and the two grappled.
"The householder was shouting for the police to be contacted. They arrived and the defendant was arrested.
"During the period before their arrival, the defendant protested he hadn't done anything wrong, the garage door had been open and he was just an opportunist."
The court heard the owner suffered soft tissue damage to his leg in the confrontation but the emotional effect of that night is more long-lasting.
He said in a victim statement he was "horrified" that his home had been invaded and added: "I have relived the event so may times. Each time my heart races and I feel I am back there again.
"I struggle to sleep for fear of someone breaking into our home again. I have nightmares about him returning."
The court heard the family had considered their house to be their "forever home" and had invested time and money on it but now feel it has been violated and is unsafe.
Elsey, of Felgate Avenue, Jarrow, admitted burglary.
Judge Tim Gittins sentenced him to two years and five months behind bars.
The judge told him: "You may have thought you were limiting your liability by only breaking into someone's garage but that was a garage that was attached to a home, a home occupied by a family who has worked hard to put themselves in a position where they out to feel safe and secure in it."
Jane Foley, defending, said Elsey has struggled with drug addiction and was under the influence when he burgled the garage.
Miss Foley said Elsey had noticed the garage door was "slightly ajar" and had not gone into the main part of the house.